HSE to implement home help cuts


The HSE is to begin implementing highly controversial cuts in home-help services.

The cuts were first announced five weeks ago as part of an overall initiative aimed at generating more than €130 million in savings. However, implementation was largely put on hold in many parts of the State pending further assessment by the Department of Health and at political level.

The HSE said last night that about €8 million in spending on home help hours would be cut between now and the end of the year, adding that it intended to minimise the impact of the cuts.

“Decisions in relation to the provision of home help hours will continue to be based on a review of individual needs, and no current recipient of this service and who has an assessed need for the service will be without a service,” it said in a statement.

The amount to be cut from the home help budget under the announcement made last night is less than the €10.8 million reduction in spending it announced originally last month, which would have resulted in some 600,000 home help hours being cut, on top of a 500,000-hour cut imposed earlier this year. The effects of the reduced spending cut was not available last night.

A HSE spokesman said the measures to reduce home help hours were being implemented by the regions over recent weeks, although the total amount to be cut was less than initially announced.

However, senior health service figures had repeatedly told The Irish Times in recent weeks that the cuts had largely been put on hold following the Government’s U-turn on cuts for the disabled some weeks ago.

The HSE said last night there were 11,000,000 home-help hours provided annually, with a budget of €195 million.

Yesterday the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children called for a halt to cuts in home help.

Sinn Féin Health spokesman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said he had the unanimous backing of the Oireachtas committee for his motion calling on Minister for Health James Reilly not to proceed with cuts to home help and homecare.

Home helps are planning to protest about the cuts in Dublin later this month.

The HSE is expected to begin intensifying the implementation of plans to reduce the number of homecare packages. However, this is likely to be at a lower level than the 200 originally announced.

The HSE said it had a statutory responsibility to live within the budget voted by the Oireachtas. “In this context, the HSE developed a range of proposals for discussion which would reduce spending and yield cash between now and the end of 2012.”

“It is a priority for the HSE to minimise the impact on patients and clients of any spending reductions. Many of the proposals therefore focused on areas that do not have a direct patient impact such as furniture, education and training, office expenses, laptops and PCs, travel and subsistence etc.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Screen Name Selection


Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.